​Nelson Mandela

Statement by Bishop Philip Huggins, Chair of the Melbourne Anglican Social Responsibilities Committee.

Nelson Mandela's moral authority and reconciling leadership cast a light on our own domestic circumstances. He left the past behind when he stepped free from prison to be a reconciling leader of his traumatised nation.

We urge our Federal Government to review its approach to those asylum-seekers now living in Australia in the same reconciling spirit Nelson Mandela displayed.

There are around 30,000 asylum-seekers in our land. Let them belong. Most are young and motivated to make a new life. Let them be educated and able to work. Let them contribute to our Commonwealth, as waves of refugees have done before them.

Christmas is a time of peace and goodwill for all. Re-instating Temporary Protection Visas for these people amidst various unwelcoming messages is not necessary, nor obviously in the Christmas spirit.

Again, closing down the possibilities for family reunion, through current policies, is also causing great sorrow.

The old wisdom is: “As the family, so the nation”. Hence, these policies just diminish our nation. At Christmas we remember the refugee family of Jesus, amidst these many fractured families.

We call on the Government to re-balance current policies with compassion, consistent with our obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention and Protocols on the Status of Refugees. I urge Australians to write to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection reminding him of these obligations and asking for his assurance that he will abide by them.




Bishop Philip Huggins on 03 9653 4243 or 0418 799 515
Communications Director Roland Ashby on
03 9653 4215 or 0418 342 561